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Google vs Shark: Search Giant Fights Undersea Enemy to Protect its Huge Optic Fibres

google data centerSearch giant Google is fighting an unusual enemy undersea to protect its huge trans-Pacific cables, which were attacked and bitten by sharks hoping to find food. It has posed a sever challenge for the global search giant that depends on its thousands of miles of pipes connecting with the countries such as Japan and South Korea across the Pacific.

Recently, AT&T revealed that the shark-bite problem is posing serious challenge to new optical fibre cables, which have replaced the copper wires that were not bitten by sharks. “There had not been a single case of a shark biting one of the old cables,” said Google engineers.

That article, by the way, dates from 1987, which makes the “Google protects its submarine cables against shark bites” story that got news sites excited a little mystifying.

“Shark bite” protection is as old as the 1990s, and Alcatel ran a submarine cable manufacturing facility in Port Botany in Australia (Alcatel-TCC), which The Register journalist said he toured prior to its opening.

The Alcatel-TCC manufactured optic fibres in grooves on a plastic carrier, wrapped in conductors and a plastic cover to withstand shark bites and they are lowered in the “deep sea” with two layers of steel armor.

Even AT&T said way back in 1987 that “the fiber-optic cables would be armoured to depths of 2,500 meters to protect against shark bites, and buried in trenches closer to shore to guard against fishing boat anchors,” reported The register.

Google said it is taking all the precautions. “Google goes to great lengths to protect its infrastructure, including wrapping its trans-Pacific underwater cables in Kevlar to prevent against shark attacks”.

Google procures its submarine cables from Japan’s NEC and DuPont. In fact, last, Google announced it participation in the mega-project — the FASTER cable — which may now require the double shielding against shark bites as well.




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